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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 8 (November 1, 1937)

Golden Bay — A Scenic Gem in Nelson Province

page 49

Golden Bay
A Scenic Gem in Nelson Province

Golden Bay! The very name is full of promise. Golden Bay fulfils the promise, for it holds both beauty and peace, surely two lovely gifts for tired man!

One can go to Golden Bay direct from Wellington, in a boat within sight of land almost all the time, landing at either Waitapu, the lovely harbour of Takaka township, or that deserted village, Collingwood. Most people, however, prefer to go to Nelson, and thence overland. One arrives at Nelson in the early morning, when the world is a world of blues and silver, for the waters of Tasman Bay are blue, while over all is a soft silver haze.

When motoring through the first miles of the long journey, those who have read H. V. Morton's “In Search of England,” must surely feel that they are seeing all the lovely things he writes of. “Peace comes dropping slow” as it does in the warm English Southern counties he so loves.

The road passes through the little villages of Stoke and Richmond with tree and hedge-bordered roads, creeper covered houses, set in tangled, luxuriantly blooming gardens and field after field of rye, barley, maize, lucerne, and sweet-scented, bee-haunted clover.

The road then winds through rolling downs, the fruit lands of Moutere. The whole of this district is one vast orchard, the only buildings in sight being the houses of orchardists and an occasional packing shed. A lovely sight this district must be in spring, with the pink and white of fairy fruit blossom, and the tender promise of summer green.

As the road ascends it leads to the Motueka and Riwaka district, where fruits of all kinds are grown. Hops, too, are plentiful, and a hop garden, with its tall supports wreathed by the friendly and profitable climber is indeed a picturesque sight.

From Motueka the road rises higher and still higher on its way up the Takaka hills. One looks back and sees mile upon mile of patchwork fields in greens, browns and duns, stretching from steep hills on one side to the placid sparkling waters of Golden Bay on the other. Up and up the road goes. The hills we are ascending have in themselves, little beauty to offer, for towards the summit, they are rough and craggy. The Takaka hills contain marble and it is from the Kaiumu quarries nearby that the marble of which the Parliamentary Buildings is made was obtained.

From the crest of the hill we see the Takaka Valley sweeping to the bay. On this side the hills have none of the cragginess of the other side. The shade of noble beech trees as one descends, gives a refreshing coolness after the glare of grey-white rocks and yellowish grass, where the only light shadows are those of billowing, fleeting clouds. The road winds in and out and round about, under lofty trees, draped with creepers, past banks of cool, soft pendant ferns, down to the valley, which from the summit looks like a toy model village. Protected by range upon range of hills the Valley shows more patchwork fields, straggling fences, tiny groves of trees with the twin threads of river and road winding through them all.

It is a run of a few miles only, along the flat, to Takaka, through sheep and dairy farming lands. Takaka is the centre of a district that offers many attractions to those who want a holiday that is “different,” that can be taken calmly. There is no need for rush or hurry, although there is much worth while to see. First are the
(Rly. Publicity photo.) A tranquil scene at Golden Bay, Nelson Province, New Zealand.

(Rly. Publicity photo.)
A tranquil scene at Golden Bay, Nelson Province, New Zealand.

Rawhiti Caves, privately owned, though open to the public. There are the Pupu Springs, the harbour of Waitapu and the truly beautiful Poharo Beach. It is almost impossible to exaggerate the beauty of this spot. A lovely curve of golden sands, from which rise bush-clad hills. The road has been cut out of the hillside. On one side the hill rises steeply with nikau palms and glossy leaved karakas softening the face of the steep hill, and on the other side, still fern-draped and karaka-shaded, the hill drops to the golden sands which slope almost imperceptibly to the clear sparkling waters of Golden Bay.

The whole Bay is before one lying in one sweeping curve with a pale shore line backed with range upon range of hills, blue and purple in the distance, and beyond all the open sea stretching to a far sharply defined horizon. In a sheltered spot among the hills, near the roadside, are the Golden Bay Cement Works, near which is the jetty, alongside which an occasional boat waits for its cargo. page 50 page 51 From this jetty one can gaze through many feet of water to the clear sands of Golden Bay. Yes, Poharo district is a lovely spot in a beautiful district, where time seems almost to stand still, so far does one feel from the haunts of strenuous life.

The Papu Springs, near Takaka, are usually interesting, though at first sight, disappointing, for they are approached through Manuka scrub-land, and at first seem to be no more than a pool in somewhat swampy ground. When, however, the small platform at the side has been ascended, one well understands why these springs have been so much discussed.

The spring is a large pool in a dead crater (there are many such craters in other parts of the district). From this funnel-shaped crater the water incessantly bubbles. The pool is deep, the water marvellously pure, while such is the effect of light on and through the water, that, on a fine day especially, the limestone rocks at the bottom of the deep, soundless, unchanging pool, glow-like jewels, hugh vivid jewels, blue of sapphire, yellow of topaz. While one looks, there is a quivering, then a blurring of the surface as an uplift of water comes from far below. Then again is seen the funnel-shaped opening, studded on the bottom with what seems to be glowing gems.

From the pool itself comes a nut-brown stream, clean with a warm, glowing clearness, not the icy clearness seen in a mountain stream. Day after day, year after year, the springs bubble and gleam, mysterious, fascinating, sending forth, so it is said by those who know, four and a half million gallons a day. Pupu Springs do indeed make one realise with our own Thomas Bracken “How small is man,” and that we “shrink to nothingness” when compared with the silent mysteries of Nature.

From the placid lonely harbour of Takaka, named Waitapu, one may cross Golden Bay to Collingwood, or continue by car, through farming land and another stretch of Manuka scrubland past Omakaka to Collingwood, a tiny picturesque hamlet at the mouth of the Aorere River.

Collingwood nestles at the foot of the hills, straggles along a small portion of river-bank and sandy shell strewn shores of Golden Bay. There is, indeed, very little to indicate that this tiny village was once the centre of a teeming goldfield. An hotel or two, a garage, a few shops and houses—that is all at first glance. But later one discovers a church and its accompanying vicarage, among the pines on the hillside, and of course a school. But so tucked away are they and so peaceful their surroundings of garden and tree that at first sight one is quite unaware of their existence.

Collingwood breathes peace and tranquility. It is, as if, after the fever of gold-seeking days with the mingled hopes and fears of light-hearted, generous-handed adventures, the tiny town is glad to be at rest, left with its memories of the past, and contented with its uneventful present, as placid, seemingly, as the waters of Golden Bay.

(Rly. Publicity photo.) One the Takaka—Golden Bay road, Nelson Province, New Zealand.

(Rly. Publicity photo.)
One the Takaka—Golden Bay road, Nelson Province, New Zealand.

A Cold Rhyme.
Mary had a little cold, but wouldn't stay at home,
And everywhere that Mary went, the cold was sure to roam;
It wandered into Molly's eyes and filled them full of tears,
It jumped from there to Bobby's nose, and thence to Jimmie's ears.
It painted Anna's throat bright red, and swelled poor Jennie's head,
Dora had a fever, and a cough put Jack to bed.
The moral of this little tale is very quickly said—
She could have saved a lot of pain with just one day in bed!